By ANDY WOLF
CANTON — The University of Findlay football team’s second-half defense was at its best again on Saturday.
The Oilers pitched a second-half shutout while allowing just 77 yards to Walsh in preserving a 19-10 Great Midwest Athletic Conference win at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
“Resilient. (We) definitely showed a lot of resiliency,” sophomore defensive back Christopher Jefferson said. “We’ve been working on coming out fast, so that’s something we need to get better at, but of course we’re always proud to finish the game strong.”
Findlay improved to 4-2 overall, 3-1 in the GMAC.
Walsh (1-5, 1-3) totaled 195 yards on the afternoon, getting 75 of its 96 rushing yards from Koby Adu-Poku on 15 carries.
The Cavaliers went nowhere in the second half and punted on their first six drives after halftime.
Findlay, struggling to score points of its own, mustered a 13-10 halftime edge and got two more Chris Demler field goals in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
Demler’s last, a 20-yarder with 4:04 remaining, completed a 4 for 4 outing with other makes from 27, 39 and 26 yards out.
“I had a good week of practice; coach always preaches that ‘you have a good week of practice, you have a good game,'” Demler said. “I’ve got to keep my head down, stay focused, team does the rest.”
Defensively for UF, Cade Rogers totaled a team-high seven tackles, two for loss. Rogers filled in for safety Richard Sheler, who left in the first half due to injury.
Junior D-lineman Ervin Besingi had both sacks for the Oilers while Jefferson made two more interceptions, bringing his season total to seven.
“That’s pretty amazing,” UF coach Rob Keys said of Jefferson’s pick count. “When you’re confident in your preparation and your play, it’s going to show up on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Findlay totaled 454 yards and was paced by a 110-yard rushing effort by Nate Slagel — his third-straight 100-yard game.
Matt Winzeler also threw for 252 yards on 20 of 36 passing with one score.
Slagel helped set up Demler’s game-sealing field goal with a 49-yard scamper down to the Walsh 3 yard line.
“I had to get out there late, time was running down,” Demler said. “It felt good to put the icing on the cake.”
While the Oilers came out on top, it was the Cavaliers who stormed out of the gate first.
Adu-Poku took the opening kickoff 45 yards out to midfield, and ripped off a 14-yard run on the first play of the game.
Freshman quarterback Tadas Tatarunas punched in a 2-yard keeper on fourth-and-1 to put the Cavs on the board first at 7-0.
UF responded, but only with a Demler 27-yard field goal — set up by Tanner Schroeder’s 56-yard catch and run.
On the second play of Walsh’s next drive, Jefferson eyed Tatarunas downfield and picked him off at the UF 47.
“Saw an RPO (run-pass option), knew the ball was coming out fast,” he said. “First guy he looked at, his first read, thought he was there and just happened to make a play on it.
“D-line got some great pressure on it.”
The Oilers capitalized off the turnover and put together a seven-play touchdown drive.
Winzeler lofted one to Marlin Richardson, who got past his man in the end zone for a 19-yard strike.
Richardson finished with a team-high six yards for 80 yards.
His first career TD grab gave UF its first lead at 10-7 with 3:24 left in the first quarter.
“You love to have momentum on your side,” Jefferson said of the offense scoring. “Whenever you can make a play to build momentum, it’s always great.”
Neither team scored again until the Oilers got a break during their 49-second drill offense.
An illegal hands to the face call on Walsh moved the ball close enough for Keys to send Demler out for a 39-yard field goal.
Demler drilled it with plenty of leg.
“Momentum in football is a very valuable asset if you have it,” Keys said. “That field goal was only three points but (it was) just the uplifting feeling of going into the locker room.”
“I loved the way he kicked today.”
Lance Mitchell added 67 yards on 11 carries for UF; Schroeder (McComb) had 83 yards on four catches and William Morehand had 53 yards on five grabs.
Tatarunas completed 9 of 22 attempts for 84 yards with three picks.
Findlay 10 3 0 6 — 19
Walsh 7 3 0 0 — 10
WALSH — Tatarunas 2 run (Mirolo kick)
UF — FG Demler 27
UF — Richards 19 pass from Winzeler (Demler kick)
WALSH — FG Mirolo 34
UF — FG Demler 39
UF — FG Demler 26
UF — FG Demler 20
First Downs 20 13
Rushes-yards 41-202 30-96
Passing Yards 252 99
Comp-Att-Int 20-36-0 10-23-3
Punts-Avg. 5-40.6 6-36.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 10-120 5-52
rushing — Findlay, Slagel 18-110, Mitchell 11-67, Winzeler 9-16, Lynch 3-9. Walsh, Adu-Poku 15-79, Bates 1-10, Kenerly 3-9, Wilks 2-4, Wilson 2-2, Davis 1-0, Tatarunas 6-(-8).
passing — Findlay, Winzeler 20-36-0–252. Walsh, Tatarunas 9-22-3–84, Davis 1-1-0–15.
receiving — Findlay, Schroeder 4-83, Richardson 6-80, Morehand 5-53, Stuffel 2-16, Lynch 1-9, Slagel 1-6, Flowers 1-5. Walsh, Smith 1-25, Lindsay 2-25, Cook 1-19, Adu-Poku 3-15, Palka 2-13, Thomas 1-2.